Scottish Parliament - Planning for business continuity

Case Study On-going
Date added: 10/05/2019

Victoria Barby is the Environment Performance Manager with the Scottish Parliament. A business continuity approach to adaptation is being used to ensure that the Scottish Parliament is a safe and functional space for lawmaking, even during extreme weather.

‘One of our major challenges is how to keep Parliament safe and functional, and adaptation will increasingly be a factor in planning for this. A Climate Impact Assessment Workshop in 2016 found that the Parliament building is already quite resilient to climate impacts. However, the logistics of getting staff and Members to the building, as well as ensuring that local offices are climate resilient, is a challenge.

A recommendation from the Impact Assessment Workshop was to track climate related disruption at the Scottish Parliament. This, along with progress on climate change adaptation is now reported at the Environment Strategy Board meetings. Regular reporting helps build a case for investing in adaptation that aligns with wider priorities, and helps us develop long term adaptation actions.

During the 2018 summer heatwave, the Parliament building was at risk of overheating. As a result, I am now working with the Business Continuity Team to develop a long term, strategic approach to climate adaptation, informed by the climate impacts already captured in our reporting processes. To fully consider how future climate change may threaten business continuity at Scottish Parliament, we are planning to undertake a risk assessment. This will be used to develop an Adaptation Plan and supporting processes that will ensure the Parliament is climate ready, and able to continue operating safely throughout extreme weather events.

We are considering a range of actions, including options like remote working and using technology to support flexible workplace practices to maintain functionality of Parliament throughout extreme weather events. While some core staff are needed on the premises of Parliament to ensure the safe and effective running of the building, flexible working options can reduce the strain on Edinburgh’s public transport system during extreme weather events, ensuring that core facilities staff are able to travel to work.

Taking a business continuity approach to planning adaptation actions is helping us to think practically about how climate change may impact our ability to function, and develop short and long term adaptation actions that will ensure the Scottish Parliament is able to operate during extreme weather events.’

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